The UFC 166 event went off last night in front of a raucous Texas audience. In the main event, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez left no questions as he mauled challenger Junior Dos Santos for the better part of 5 rounds until he got the stoppage. Dos Santos is the only man to ever stop Velasquez, but since then, Velasquez has beaten him for 10 rounds, so it is safe to say that Dos Santos is heading to the back of the line when it comes to another shot at the title. So who does Velasquez get next?
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The UFC has a real tough juggling act ahead of them. The top contenders list as of right now sits as Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, and all of them are in the 35 years old range. Realistically, the UFC is going to have to put the pedal to the letal here if they are going to get the most out of this aging talent while they are still in their prime. The gap between these three and the rest of the weight division is massive.
Cormier also fought at UFC 166, and as expected, he took out Roy Nelson. Two signs that paint Cormier out of the heavyweight picture are his friendship with Velasquez and the fact that he weighed 224 for this fight, so he appears serious about heading down to the 205 lb weight class. It is unclear if he can make it, but Velasquez – Cormier is not really an option.
Then there is Fabricio Werdum. Werdum is talented, and he defeated Antonio Noguiera after coaching the Brazilian version of the Ultimate Fighter in his last outing, back in June. He has nothing on the schedule as far as a fight, and he participates in the Mexican UFC broadcasts where he talks about waiting for a title shot. Werdum expects the shot at this point, however his inactivity over the past few years have prevented him from becoming a big name, and he has no real name value.
Which leaves us Josh Barnett. Barnett is booked to fight Travis Browne in December, which would leave him ready for a spring 2014 match with Velasquez. Barnett has far more charisma than Werdum, or Cormier for that matter, and the UFC would be making a mistake not giving Barnett the next shot if he does beat Browne.